13 September 2016 – El Confidencial
Liberbank has decided to cash in one of the gems that it inherited from the former Caja Castilla-La Mancha (CCM), specifically: the building located at number 19 on the sought-after Carrera de San Jerónimo. It is a modern, 5-storey building, with a ground floor, terrace and parking area, which was fully renovated less than a decade ago; and it is located just a stone’s throw away from Palacio de las Cortes, right in the heart of Madrid.
In financial circles, it has always been said that this building was a personal whim of Juan Pedro Hernández-Moltó, who, after leaving the Congress of Representatives and taking over the reins at CCM, saw an opportunity to unit his two passions in this property, which was completely remodelled in 2007, just two years before the Manchego entity was intervened by the Bank of Spain and sold to Cajastur, from which the current Liberbank emerged.
Faced with these trappings from the past, the entity led by Manuel Menéndez is now immersed in an asset sale process, which includes an open process to sell this headquarters building, which has a total surface area of 2,500 sqm and which may fetch up to €13 million upon sale, according to sources familiar with the process.
In addition, the decision to put this property up for sale comes a year and a half after Liberbank acquired a complex of office buildings measuring 13,500 sqm from Sareb in Fuente Mora, number 2, in the area known as Manoteras, which is close to the headquarters of companies such as Axa, Caser and BBVA’s Ciudad Financiera. (…).
Although initially, the group was considering the possibility of holding onto the headquarters on Carrera de San Jerónimo for its President and institutional work, the roadmap that the entity is now working with involves transferring all of its offices in Madrid to the new offices in Manoteras, and leaving the building free for the new purchaser to fill with its own tenant.
At the presentation of its latest quarterly results, Liberbank acknowledged that its priority now is to sell off as many of its non-performing assets as possible this year, given that the EPA (asset protection scheme) that it was granted by the State to cover it against potential losses in CCM will come to an end on 31 December 2016.
The hole inherited from the Manchego entity currently amounts to €2,000 million, whereas the cushion from the EPA barely amounts to €456 million. Its divestment strategy also includes trying to sell a portfolio of overdue mortgages amounting to between €700 million and €800 million.
Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)
Translation: Carmel Drake